The Galvin brothers have been running fine dining restaurants in London since 2005. These Michelin-star siblings have six fine establishments dotted around the capital, each offering a unique atmosphere, impressive culinary expertise and an incredible dining experience. We tried out Galvin La Chapelle, the third restaurant opened by the brothers, which won eight top dining awards in its first year of opening and subsequently, a Michelin Star in 2011 for its fine French cuisine. Located in a beautiful Grade II listed building, a painting is hung on the far side of the wall, depicting green fields, a flowing river and beautiful vineyards, with a Chapel at the top of the hill. (Very much like the views down the Moselle!) The story is that when the brothers were travelling along the vineyards, they came upon this beautiful view and with the towering chapel overlooking the valley. They then came to a natural conclusion for the name of this new restaurant. La Chapelle.
Three Course Meal
Our meal was a three course set, as part of their summer menu. Each course had three options and it also came with a glass of Galvin Champagne “Gran Reserve” Brut. From walking through the doors to being seated at the table, the service was simply excellent. The waiters smiling and making sure you were comfortable, tucking your chair in and helping you with your tablecloth. The glass of champagne was crisp and delicious, just the perfect way to start a fine evening of food!
As we sat and digested the menu, we were quite curious with one of the starters, “Vichyssoise, salt cod brandade & creme fraiche“. What looked like an alien word turned out to be a thick creamy soup, surrounding a large crunchy chunk of cod with a large dollop of creme fraiche on top. A nice balance between the crunchy and salted fish with the smooth soup based liquid and the refreshing cream to finish.
The Rabbit and Pig’s Head Ballotine were two discs sitting on top of a bed of fennel salad, simply designed with droplets of lemon gel on the side. It was a light starter with a tasty ballotine, but what worked exceptionally well was the citric and sharp lemon flavour that cuts across and envelops the rest of the dish. It is a very nice use of the little bits of lemon gel for such great combining flavours!
The mains consisted of three classic options of linguine, plaice and chicken. We chose the latter two and were not disappointed. The Poached Fillet of Brixham Plaice sat neatly on top of the green basil gnocchi au pistou. The colour contrast of the white fish with the light green of the basil and peas were matched off with the occasional red tomatoes, making the dish extremely appetizing. The fish was perfectly cooked and fell apart when softly poked with a fork and was really well seasoned. The basil flavours were carried out with the juicy sauce that flooded the bowl, with its intricate little peas and other small vegetables. The gnocchi though was just perfect – soft but crunchy and very well textured, again embodying the fresh flavours of the basil. An overall well-rounded fish dish with great use of vegetables and herbs!
As delicious and incredible as the plaice was, the highlight of the evening had to be the Pot Roasted Supreme of Landes Chicken. Firstly, the presentation of the dish was stunning, bright mustardy yellow dashed across, filling half of the plate. The chicken neatly cut and piled on the other half and the bits of corn, gnocchi and seasoning just casually dotted between. A very nice looking and appetizing visual. But wait till you try out that chicken. Soft, full of flavour from the pot roasting and so juicy and tasty. It must have been marinated for a long time just to get those flavours to come through (or slow cooked for ages at least!). This succulent meat was flanked by the most incredible purée. Who knew sweetcorn can produce such an amazing bit of sauce. The purée was smooth, sweet, savoury and had the effect of making someone lick it all off the plate! Combined that with the hazelnut vinaigrette and the little bits of herb gnocchi and you have one fine dish. Something well worth going back for. Simply delicious!
After savouring the last little drop of that sweetcorn purée, we were ready for some sweets to end a fabulous evening. The English Strawberry Parfait with Strawberry Coulis and Black Pepper Meringue was refreshing and full of fresh flavours of strawberry and this delicious coulis sauce.
But my favourite was the Apricot and Almond Cake, sitting in the centre of the dish with a nice moat of rosemary custard and a large scoop of refreshing apricot sorbet on top. The cake itself was tasty and already full of flavours of apricot and almond. The custard supplemented it well but it was just missing that sugary kick required in a nice tasting dessert. This is where the apricot sorbet comes in with its sweet but refreshing nudge, just sweet enough to balance off the custard and almond tart flavours. A true balance of sweetness!
All in all, a fabulous evening sampling some first class food in what was a beautiful and peaceful building. It is no wonder the Galvin brothers are Michelin star rated. Not only is it seen in the service, atmosphere and attention to detail but the food was simply class, especially that chicken!
Also published on Medium.